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Bride Tori’s joyful wedding at The Biltmore Estate.

Please meet today’s bride, Tori! Of course, I think that all our bride’s look stunning on their wedding day’s, but it’s hard not to smile while looking at nearly all these photos of Tori – that bed jumping photo is exactly how I hope every single one of our brides feels when marrying her groom! According to Tori, she and her beau Matthew are just “Two goofy people who happened to meet at the perfect time.” While Tori might say “goofy,” I’d say joy-filled! Based on the above comment, I’m a tad surprised by her favorite part of their wedding. Tori said, “The ceremony was our favorite part! I honestly didn’t realize how much fun it would be to get married.” Well, now I see why! That might be one of my favorite reason’s to date. You absolutely want to keep scrolling for more of Tori and Matthew’s Biltmore wedding!

Big SW hugs to Natalie Watson for these sweet photos!

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. I went with my mom to every shop, and she was always the perfect person to bounce ideas off of. I wanted it to twirl, and I did NOT want strapless. Low and behold, my mom and I fell in love with a twirly strapless gown that we both knew was perfect!

Did you decide to do a first look? We did do a first look, and we’re both SO glad that we did! There were no distractions — we just enjoyed the moment. Another bonus is that at the reception we didn’t have to take time to leave and take photos. We could enjoy our time with each other and with our families.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? One requirement of the wedding was that it be outside. I was raised in north Georgia, so mountains were the backdrop to my life. The Biltmore had the incredible view that I always wanted and amazing service to go along with it.

What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? The ceremony was our favorite part! I honestly didn’t realize how much fun it would be to get married. We exchanged traditional vows, and we also each wrote a letter to each other. They are now hanging on our walls at home.

What was Southern about your wedding? Ha! Everyone and everything. I’m from Georgia; Matt is from Florida; we fell in love in North Carolina. We got married in the mountains. We ate pecan pie to celebrate. We had bourbon in our glasses to toast. We ate s’mores, danced to “Wagon Wheel,” and prayed that we would get through whatever life threw at us.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. A quartet played instrumental music as we entered and exited the ceremony. The parents and grandparents walked in to “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran and the bridal party walked in to “I Want you Back” by Jackson 5 (so much fun watching them dance in!). I walked in to “How Long Will I Love You” by Jon Boden, which was also our first dance song! And we all exited to ‘Shut Up and Dance’ by Walk the Moon. Matthew and his mother danced to “Boys of Fall” by Kenny Chesney, a throwback to when Matt was a football star in high school. My dad and I danced to “Georgia on my Mind” by Ray Charles, a perfect trace back to my roots.

What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? We had pie! This was my second requirement of the big day. I like cake, but I LOVE pie. We had pecan, chocolate, and peach streusel (another homage to my Georgia roots!). We did have a small coconut cake to slice in to for a first bite, but the pies were where it was at!

Tell us your love story in one sentence. Two goofy people who happened to meet at the perfect time :)
Tell us all about the proposal! MATTHEW IS AMAZING! New Year’s is the one holiday that we always spend together. He told me he was going to fly in to Atlanta on December 31st and meet me downtown that evening. I spent the day shopping for a New Year’s dress with my sister and being surprised by my favorite cousin to get my nails done. Right when I thought it was time to go towards Atlanta, my sister and cousin started driving in the other direction. They handed me a laptop and headphones and told me to watch. All of my friends and family began to tell me how much they love me and how they have loved getting to know me and Matt separately and as a couple. When the video was over, we parked, and I was told to put on a blindfold, hold their hands, and follow them. When the blindfold came off, I saw a sidewalk lined with luminaries and flower petals. I followed them until I saw my goofy, tall, perfect boyfriend standing under twinkly lights with a goofy grin dancing to a song from our favorite movie, “About Time.” The rest was perfect, including a friend hiding in the bushes to take pictures and our families back home to celebrate with us.
When did y’all get married? September 3rd, 2017
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 120

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? We didn’t want a big fabricated event — we wanted an outdoorsy, charming, casual wedding, our favorite things with our favorite people. Asheville Event Co. made sure that the reception was exactly what we envisioned. They really listened to what defined us as a couple and celebrated it.
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? We definitely had differing ideas, but they allowed Matt and me to come together and support each other. We learned what was important to each other, and we really advocated for one another.
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? There were a lot of moving parts! We had a fun gathering for our friends on Friday night, followed by a day at summer camp (the summer camp that Matt went to and worked at) on Saturday. Then we had our rehearsal and rehearsal dinner that night, and all Sunday was full of prepping. We were excited/nervous about everything that had to be done, but Missy (at AEC) made it really easy!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We didn’t focus on the embellishments too much, but instead focused our efforts on the entertainment and food. We found what was important to us and focused on that. The rest was an added plus, but not something that would make or break our day.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Be around people that bring you up! There will always be people that make the planning a little more stressful. Remember that this is a day for you to celebrate with your betrothed. Surround yourself with people that make it exciting and happy, and that will make it enjoyable.

Photographer: Natalie Watson | Videographer: Magic Hour Creative | Planner: Asheville Event Co. | Venue, caterer, lighting, and dessert baker: Diana at The Biltmore Estate | Florist: Blossoms at Biltmore Park | Rentals: The Biltmore and CER | Band: The Free | Paper products: The Happy Envelope | Bride’s gown: “Agatha 13704” in ivory by Watters Wtoo | Bridal salon, veil, earrings: The White Magnolia | Hair stylist: Love, Daisy | Makeup artist: Blush by Wendy Balance | Bride’s shoes: Steve Madden | Bridesmaid dresses: Watters 244 in Plum from Bella Bridesmaids | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse | Ceremony musicians: Ron Clearfield

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Kyla Shattuck reply

    I love their joy! I can completely relate to Tori’s sentiments about the ceremony, too! :)

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Lindsay and Ridge wanted a destination wedding that was easy for their guests to travel to, and when they visited Grandfather Golf and Country Club and saw the breathtaking backdrop, they simply knew it was the place. Even more special, since they had spent time in the Grandfather Mountain area with Lindsay’s grandparents, it was not only the views that had them hooked, but also the sweet family memories they would be adding to with their wedding day. Lindsay and Ridge worked with their florist, Kelly of Philosophy Flowers, to incorporate combinations of white and green florals that complimented, but didn’t compete with, the natural beauty of the setting. I, for one, am sure glad they did because I adore how the simple color palette makes Mother Nature look all the more amazing! Guests were invited to change into flip flops, walk on the shoreline, dance under the stars, and watch the sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Anyone else have a bit of wedding guest envy?

Big hugs to Natalie Watson for sharing this dreamy day with us!

I let my bridesmaids choose their own white dresses. I know it’s not typical for anyone other than the bride to wear white to a wedding, but I wanted everything to look simple and natural (and not take away from the beautiful setting). I also wanted the dresses to reflect each girl’s individual style, and for them to be able to wear them again.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had always wanted to wear my mother’s wedding dress from her marriage to my father in 1979–it was my dream cap-sleeved vintage dress! My twin sister had made minor alterations to the dress to wear for her wedding in 2009, and I knew I wanted to continue the tradition. I had my mother’s seamstress cut out the back of the dress to update the design and to make it fit me more comfortably. I tried the dress on for the first time with my mother and my grandmother, and it brought us all to tears!

We decided not to do a first look. This was one detail of our wedding that we both felt was important to stick with tradition. Our reception site was located within walking distance of the ceremony site, so we knew we would have ample time after the ceremony for pictures together, without missing too much time at the reception.

Ridge’s cousin, a local pastor, was our officiant. We both wanted traditional vows and he made a recommendation that we thought was very reflective of our faith, vows, and love for one another.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Ridge and I knew we wanted a destination wedding that was convenient for most of our friends and family. I spent many years in the Grandfather Mountain area with my grandparents and it holds a very special place in my heart. The backdrop at Grandfather Golf and Country Club is breathtaking. There is an amazing view of the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains above a lake with a sandy shoreline! We felt it was the best of both worlds: elements of the beach and the mountains in one place. The day we visited the site, we knew it would be perfect for our ceremony and reception.

Kelly Perry of Philosophy Flowers was amazing! I wanted to incorporate colors that complimented the natural beauty of the setting, so we chose to stick with mostly white and green combinations. She suggested a circle of white petals for us to stand on during the ceremony, as well as vibrant greenery draping the arbor. I wanted to soften the outdoor reception venue with greenery, a combination of whimsical arrangements, and ample candle light and vintage votives. Kelly’s vast botanical knowledge, combined with her creativity and artistic abilities, helped to create the most gorgeous setting!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The setting. We wanted a fun party in a relaxed and unique environment. June 6 was the perfect early summer day in the mountains and Grandfather Golf and Country Club had just completed renovations on their Beach Club Pavilion. People were able to change into flip flops to walk on the shoreline, dance under the stars, and watch the sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met through a mutual friend at a big Christmas party in December 2007. The following night, we ran into each other at our favorite local pub and I re-introduced myself (in case I did not make a big enough impression the night before!). We ended up exchanging numbers and meeting up almost daily over the holiday season. The rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! Ridge loves to ski and planned a last-minute trip to Vail, Colorado for the two of us in January. On the last ski day of our trip, my legs were exhausted, so I decided I wanted to head back to the hotel a little early. Ridge asked a photographer to take our picture before I skied down the mountain. I was a little puzzled because it was snowing so hard that you couldn’t see any scenery! As we posed for the picture, he got on one knee and asked me to marry him! I was shocked and it was perfect!
When did y’all get married? June 6, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I spent an afternoon with my mother listening to wedding songs on YouTube and we picked our favorites that would fit with the relaxed, but romantic, setting and sound good played by the cello and violin duet: “Butterfly Waltz” for the seating of mothers/grandmothers, “Ave Maria” for the musical interlude, “Canon in D” for the processional, and “Trumpet Voluntary” for the bride’s processional. Ridge and I chose to dance to “Stuck on You” by Lionel Richie. I have been the biggest Lionel Richie fan for most of my life! It reminded me of the past, our goal of sticking together for so many years, and how the wait was worth it!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my mother’s diamond earrings, and wore her sapphire and diamond bracelet for my something blue. My wedding dress was old and my shoes were new (they were wedges–my husband is 14″ taller than me!).
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The timeline. We got married three months to the date after picking our reception venue. I had always wanted a summer wedding and was too excited to wait another year! After seven years of dating, we were more than eager to take the next step. The limited time forced us to make big decisions very quickly!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The look on my husband’s face as I walked down the aisle. I’ve never seen him so happy!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are currently looking for a new house! We look forward to growing our life and family together in the city where we met (Charlotte, North Carolina).

Photographer: Natalie Watson / Venue and Caterer: Grandfather Golf and Country Club / Florist: Philosophy Flowers / Cake Baker: Ugga Mugga Bakery / Band: The Company Band / Hair Stylist: Jacquelyn Buckner of Borealis Salon / Makeup Artist: Bryn Golob of Shear Shakti Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Natalie Watson reply

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. avatar Jennings King reply

    just love this bride & groom! lovely wedding and Natalie did an awesome job capturing it! love – Jennings

  3. avatar Beth Zagst reply

    What a great day it was. I loved to hear about the dress and its nostalgic touches. Thank you for including the cake in this amazing blog. Great job capturing the magic of the day in print!

  4. avatar Greenery White Wedding Inspiration – KnotsVilla reply

    […] Cake by Ugga Mugga Bakery | Photo by Natalie Watson via Southern Weddings […]

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Last summer, I was a bridesmaid in one of my best friends’ weddings in Islamorada, and I can attest that it is such a beautiful place. It’s excluded from wildness of Key West, and filled with just the right amenities for a special wedding weekend! Believe me when I say, I can see why Lindsey and Greg fell in love with it so much, they decided to plan a destination wedding there in just seven weeks! From the blue heart made of her father’s shirt sewn into her dress, to the ribbon made from her mama’s wedding dress tied around her bouquet, even though they were short on time, Lindsey and Greg’s wedding day was certainly not short on meaningful details and fond memories.

Thanks to Natalie Watson for sharing this sweet day with us!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? It took us a long time to find a wedding venue, but when we stumbled upon Islamorada, we knew we wanted to get married there! We both love the beach, and our family and friends love warm weather, so it was perfect. With that, we decided to plan a destination wedding in seven weeks! We took photos before the wedding at the quaint and adorable Moorings Village and Spa, and then headed across the street to Pierre’s, a plantation house and restaurant, for the ceremony and reception. The venues were a perfect backdrop to our breezy, December wedding.

Oh, wedding dress shopping! It is safe to say I tried on about 100 dresses. I just couldn’t find one that I absolutely loved. I shopped in Michigan, Knoxville, and Nashville, and even ordered dresses online, sent them back, and then even ordered the same ones again…just to be sure! That is actually how I found my wedding dress. I ordered it, sent it back because I wanted a white dress, then after trying on more and never finding anything right, I ordered it again. That time, I knew it was the dress for me!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed an anklet from my mom that she wears every day. For my something blue, I had a blue heart sewed to the inside of my dress that was made from an old shirt of my dad’s. My bouquet was wrapped in a ribbon made out of my mom’s wedding dress, and I carried a hankie from my grandmother for my something old. As my something new, I wore a bracelet my dad gave me as a wedding gift right before he walked me down the aisle. It was such a sweet gift, because he gave the same one to my sister at her wedding, and he had a special message engraved in it.

One of the very last decisions we made for the wedding was what song I would walk down the aisle to. We have very different music tastes, and we chose “All of Me” by John Legend because we both love that song. Not only did we love it, it also set the mood for the ceremony–some of our family and friends were crying before I even reached the end of the aisle!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? My most memorable moment was walking down the aisle and seeing a normally stoic Gary holding back tears after seeing me for the first time. I will always remember it!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? All of our vendors were amazing and wonderful to work with! We especially loved our extremely talented photographer, Natalie. She captured all of the special moments and details of the entire day. We will be able to look at our wedding pictures for years to come and remember the love, happiness, and excitement we felt that day.

Our cake was very simple, but delicious! It was a two-tiered vanilla cake with buttercream filling and key lime buttercream icing on the outside. Everyone wanted seconds!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met three years ago through a mutual friend at a bar in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee. We hit it off immediately and went on our first date a few days later. We’ve been inseparable ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal! We got engaged the day after Christmas! We had just gotten home from spending Christmas with my family in Michigan. Gary said he had to go run an errand, and then was going to bring dinner back for us. When he got back, we ate and opened the rest of our presents. The last one was a tiny box that had been hidden under the tree. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! I found out later that the jeweler had called while we were on our way home from Michigan to tell him that the ring was ready…that was the little errand he had to run!
When did y’all get married? December 5, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 20
Describe your wedding flowers. Our flowers were beautiful! Our florists used pale pink, blush, and ivory garden roses, dripping greens, and sea grasses. My bouquet had peonies in it too, since they are my favorite flower!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: We rented cottages at The Moorings Village for the weekend, which allowed us to spend extra time with the special people in our lives who made the trip down.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We were able to rent chairs and linens from our florist. By doing this, we saved money by only paying the delivery and set up/breakdown fee for one vendor!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Trust your vendors, accept help from others, and remember what the day is really about!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We look forward to spending the rest of our lives together, enjoying whatever life brings our way!

Photographer: Natalie Watson / Ceremony Venue: Morada Bay / Reception Venue and Catering: Pierre’s Lounge and Restaurant at Morada Bay / Florist and Rentals: Parrish Designs of London / Cake Baker: Bob’s Bunz Islamorada Restaurant & Bakery / DJ: Phil Barnes from Rock With U Entertainment / Flamingo Cake Toppers: BHLDN / Bride’s Gown: “Carina Corset” and “Ahsan Skirt” by Watters / Hair and Makeup: Carolyn Jones / Groom’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank / Groom’s Tie: The Tie Bar / Portrait Location: The Moorings Village / Flower Girl Dresses and Floral Crowns: ShopElizaDean / Officiant: Jill Atkinson

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Natalie reply

    Thanks so much for posting this darling wedding! As a photographer I absolutely loved both venues, they were very charming! Ralph Lauren was doing a photoshoot there the morning of the wedding. Lindsey’s flowers were stunning! I highly recommend these vendors if you are planning a destination wedding in the keys! They really made Lindsey’s vision come to life!

  2. avatar Lindsay Callahan reply

    You captured these moments beautifully! Do you know what vendor the menu cards came from. I’d love to know. So simple and elegant. Thank you

  3. avatar Victoria reply

    Hey there- your wedding was beautiful! I’m loving the flamingo cake toppers but I can’t seem to find them anywhere online that I can still buy. Would you be willing to sell me yours? I’d love to use them too. So adorable!!

  4. avatar Olivia reply

    This is serious inspo for my wedding! I was wondering what the dance floor situation was? I’m considering doing a partial buyout of the restaurant so was curious what happens when it’s time to dance!

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